Skip to main content

Full text of "Rapid Population Growth Consequences And Policy Implications"

See other formats


Regarding attitudes toward birth control, a majority of the respondents in every survey (other than in Dakar) favor family planning, as early as 1965. Indeed, in every region there are more people who approve of family planning than who believe that their nation's population increase is a bad thing. This is all the more remarkable when we consider the stringent wording of the question, which refers not merely to the notion of family planning, but to the desirability of "birth control programs to encourage people to have fewer children."
According to their responses to this item, countries may be divided into three groups: the Far Eastern countries, three of which have over 85 percent approving and over 50 percent strongly approving; Europe, the Near East, and Latin America, where the minimum approval scarcely falls below two thirds; and Africa, where the level of approval is distinctly lower. (The range in Africa however, is very large—from 30 percent in Dakar to 71 percent in Nigeria.) Latin America shows the largest discrepancy between attitudes toward population and toward family planning.
If we disregard the regional classification and rank the countries from 1 to 22 on each of the three items, we discover an interesting pattern—a very close association between rank on attitude toward national population growth and rank on attitude toward world population growth. To measure the degree of association a Spearman Rank-Order Correlation was computed, yielding a value of 0.835. (If there were no relation between the ranks on the two items, the value would be zero; if the ranks were identical, the value would be 1.) Thus, although most countries believe world population growth is a more serious problem than national, their positions vis-a-vis other countries remain about the same. The correlation between attitude toward national growth and attitude toward national birth control programs, however, is much smaller, 0.463, suggesting that national rank on one of these items predicts poorly national rank on the other. If we now divide the countries into two groups on each question, depending on whether they fall in the upper or lower half of the distribution, we emerge with the four types shown in Table 3.
The nations against national growth and in favor of family planning (Group I) are, with the exception of Great Britain, non-Christian, Asian societies all of whom now have active family planning programs. At the opposite pole (Group III), the six nations less in favor of family planning and more in favor of national growth include two Latin American, two African, and two Asian states (Table 3).
The other two categories are especially interesting. One group of countries (II) are rather negative to national population growth but also rather negative to family planning. Italy and Manila, with conservative Catholic populations, might be viewed as nations approving of the ends of population control but not of the contraceptive means. In Group IV—the reverse of the previous group—the Latin American cities are heavily overrepresented. Family